With the rosters of both L.A. teams packed with stars, the gap seems to have closed between the Lakers and Clippers as far as local supremacy is concerned.
In fact, the Clippers may have actually surpassed the Lakers in that regard -- at least for right now. So said Times NBA writer Ben Bolch in his Google+ hangout with Clippers beat writer Broderick Turner and deputy sports editor John Cherwa.
Keep in mind, though, that Bolch was on hand for the Lakers’ disappointing season opener Tuesday night at Staples Center, a 99-91 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
“Let’s face it, the Lakers are a mess right now,” Bolch said, calling the team “a work in progress, to put it mildly” before adding that he thinks the Lakers will eventually get it together and finish higher than the Clippers in the Western Conference standings.
The Clippers have their starting unit intact and aren’t learning a new offense, which gives them the local edge as far as Bolch is concerned. “They’re far ahead of where the Lakers are right now,” he said.
Of course, the Clippers haven’t played a regular-season game yet. They have their opener Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies, a team they beat in seven games during the first round of the playoffs last year.
Turner said some bad blood will spill over from last year.
“Even though the Clippers won that series, Memphis believes they were the better team and that they should have won that series,” he said.
Watch the entire hangout -- including discussions on how the new flopping rules will affect the local teams and both teams’ struggles at the free-throw line -- above.